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Design Thought Leader

Piedmont Sets a High Standard with the New Newnan Hospital


Amanda Mewborn is a Senior Healthcare Operational Planner in the Atlanta office of Perkins+Will.

Recently, Amanda Mewborn of Perkins+Will visited Piedmont Newnan Hospital to see how the new hospital is providing world class care to the Coweta County community located about one hour south of Atlanta.

Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Newnan, Georgia, about one hour south of Atlanta, is a showplace of the latest community acute care hospital design trends. The new 362,000-square-foot facility hosts a comprehensive array of services, including inpatient care units, emergency services, cardiac catheterization, imaging, surgical services and a comprehensive birthing facility with neonatal intensive care. The facility opened in May 2012 with 136 beds. Also on the 104-acre campus is Piedmont Medical Plaza, which contains physician practices, an ambulatory surgical center and outpatient infusion center.

The entry of Piedmont Newnan Hospital

The hospital was designed with four main intentions:

  • Promote flexibility in design so that as technology, clinical processes, and community needs change, the facility can easily support the new work flow
  • Improve the experience for patients and visitors through extensive use of natural light, simplified way-finding, and access to nature from all public spaces
  • Enhance the efficiency of the facility’s operations by improving staffing and maintenance costs
  • Prepare for growth of the facility in the future. The facility is designed to triple in size while only impacting three additional acres and without disruption to any existing spaces or entrances.

A Community Landmark

Entering the Piedmont Newnan Hospital campus, visitors are greeted with a grand, beautiful facility. The hospital can be seen on the right with the wall of glass, while the Piedmont Medical Plaza is located on the left side.

Piedmont Newnan Hospital has been years in the making. Newnan Hospital originally opened in 1925, and served the Coweta County community successfully for decades. In 2006, the hospital began having financial challenges, and in 2007, Piedmont Hospital committed to building a new facility for the community. Construction began in late 2008. Shortly thereafter, construction had to be put on hold due to the ailing economy and limited access to capital. Construction resumed in early 2010 with a renewed focus on cost savings that yielded a $30m reduction. The facility was completed in 2012, and the new Piedmont Newnan Hospital opened in May 2012.

While the hospital and Medical Plaza are certainly eye-catching, an impressive statistic to note is that 60% of the 104-acre campus was not disturbed during construction. The facility is surrounded by beautiful trees, trails and nature. Trees line the entrance from the parking area, providing a warm greeting to visitors from the minute they exit their vehicle. Trails from the campus are designed to eventually connect to a community-wide bike trail that is planned to connect to the city center. Outdoor dining areas line the central green space, providing a respite for both staff and visitors. Many of the roofs are green roofs to lessen heat gain and soften the views from public areas. The facility was definitely designed to bring nature inside.

 Building Interior Promotes Healing

When entering the building, the natural stone, warm woods and soothing colors strike you – it definitely does not have that “hospital feel.” The lobby features a two-story entrance lined on both sides with glass, a fireplace and comfortable seating. The flow of the building is natural and obvious upon entry.

Each floor with inpatient care units contains two 18-bed units. All rooms on a floor have the same set-up to promote standardization and ease of use. The nurse station in the center of the unit is enclosed with glass, allowing visibility to patients and natural light into the core of the unit. Decentralized nurse stations are located between patient rooms and have windows to facilitate patient visibility and monitoring from outside the patient room. All patient rooms are private, and include floor-to-ceiling windows. Gone are the days of patients looking at ceiling tiles, as the rooms are designed to promote natural light and visibility to the outside. It feels like you are in a tree-house when standing in the patient rooms – the views are gorgeous!

Inboard toilets are cleverly designed to reduce the risk of patient falls and staff injury, facilitating easy transfer of a patient from the bed or wheelchair. All doors to patient rooms are double, preventing beds and wheelchairs from bumping into walls and doorframes, and increasing patient comfort when transfers are necessary. New patient beds are able to weigh patients, perform respiratory therapy procedures such as percussion, play music, and speak in several languages.

In addition to a nursing station in the center of each 18-bed unit, decentralized nursing stations are located between patient rooms.

Many areas have concrete floors, as they cost about 25% less than terrazzo but have the same maintenance cost. Concrete only costs about one-third of VCT over a lifetime. The staff had to learn new things with the new materials used in the building. For example, the staff no longer has to wax the floors, as it is unnecessary with concrete.

Most spaces utilize natural light extensively and have outdoor views. Concrete flooring was used in many areas to cut lifetime costs by about one-third.

Services with like processes were grouped to achieve economies of space and improve operational flexibility. For example, surgery, interventional radiology and endoscopy services all have a common pre- and post-procedure suite to allow reassignment of space and cross training of staff. These design changes have enabled positive process changes. Within two months of moving in, the team was performing about 20 more surgical cases and 40 more gastrointestinal cases a month, and reduced the number of cases visiting the post anesthesia care unit (now only using three to five bays when seven bays were used in the old facility).

Piedmont Newnan Hospital anticipates saving $665,000 annually by reducing its energy usage by 20%.

Opening the Door to New Opportunities

As one staff member said, “We have been able to improve our quality and experience through the facility design.” The new facility is certainly enabling better care, as another staff member noted, “This facility has allowed us the freedom to do things we couldn’t have done elsewhere.” Specifically, the staff is looking forward to being the first in the Piedmont Healthcare System to begin using the new electronic health record. When assessing which hospital would receive the new system first, Piedmont Newnan Hospital was chosen because of the “perfect set-up” that will result in no problems with wiring the building to support the new technology or accommodating the new computer stations.

Green and Efficient

Piedmont Newnan Hospital was designed to not only improve the health of the community but the environment as well. Pending LEED certification, the hospital is anticipating energy usage reductions of 20%, saving the organization approximately $655,000 annually. Potable water usage has been reduced by 29%, saving approximately $25,000 annually. Most spaces utilize natural light extensively and have outdoor views. Site design leaves approximately 60% of acreage unspoiled as vegetated space for native fauna and flora.


Amanda Mewborn, RN, CPN, CPHIMS, PMC, DSHS is a senior healthcare consultant with Perkins+Will where she assists clients with improving operational efficiency, patient experience and quality. 


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